Delhi Capitals captain: The runners-up of Indian Premier League 2020 have received a huge blow a couple of weeks before the next season.
Indian Premier League franchise Delhi Capitals are almost likely to be without their captain Shreyas Iyer for at least the first part of the upcoming 14th season of the Indian Premier League.
Iyer, 26, had suffered a left shoulder injury during the recently concluded first ODI between India and England in Pune yesterday. After taking no further part in the match, Iyer had scans on his shoulder which have revealed a dislocation ruling him out of the England ODIs.
In Iyer’s absence, Capitals will have to look for a new captain till the time their regular captain doesn’t regain full fitness. While DC do have a lot of captaincy options, picking the right one holds the key ahead of the biggest T20 league.
From what I am hearing about @ShreyasIyer15 s injury all I can say is it’s very very cruel. Very unfortunate what’s happened. Much more serious than what I had feared.
— Boria Majumdar (@BoriaMajumdar) March 24, 2021
Who should be Delhi Capitals captain in Shreyas Iyer’s absence?
In the general run of things, a vice-captain takes over in such a situation. The easiest way for head coach Ricky Ponting, his support staff and Capitals’ leadership would be to name Pant as a stand-in captain till the time Iyer doesn’t return.
While Pant is a proven IPL campaigner in front of and behind the wickets now, he has minimal captaincy experience in competitive cricket. Having said that, the same was said of Iyer was he was handed the reigns midway through IPL 2018.
Talking further about Pant, one remembers him leading Delhi across formats in some parts of the 2016-17 and 2017-18 Indian domestic season. Back in the day, Pant had led Delhi comprising of international cricketers such as Ashish Nehra, Gautam Gambhir and Shikhar Dhawan.
A confirmed name in the Playing XI and an astute reader of the game, spinner Ravichandran Ashwin is another straightforward option for Capitals to go towards for the captaincy role. The 34-year old might not have the experience of leading at the highest level but has led Kings XI Punjab (now Punjab Kings) in a couple of seasons.
As captain between IPL 2018-19, Ashwin had led Kings XI in 28 matches – winning 12 and losing 16. With the ball in hand as a captain, Ashwin’s 25 wickets had come at an average of 32.40, an economy rate of 7.67 and a strike rate of 25.36.
In addition to replacing a captain in Iyer, Capitals will also have to replace a top-order batsman. With Ajinkya Rahane in the squad and unlikely to find a spot in the Playing XI otherwise, Iyer’s injury presents a chance to their team management to accommodate the Indian Test captain.
Apart from leading India in 10 matches across formats, Rahane also has leadership credentials in the IPL for he was the captain of Rajasthan Royals before joining Delhi. Just in case Rahane doesn’t bat in a way Delhi expect one of their Top Three to bat, they can replace him with Iyer just like how Australia had swapped George Bailey with Michael Clarke in ICC Cricket World Cup 2015.
Shikhar Dhawan or Steven Smith
Other than these aforementioned names, Capitals could also turn towards the experienced pair of Shikhar Dhawan and Steven Smith for leadership.
Dhawan might not be having a lot of experience of captaincy in competitive cricket, he sure has a 17-year experience of playing competitive cricket. Much like Ashwin, Dhawan is also a sure-starter in their XI which would mean that they won’t have to make many changes to deal with Iyer’s injury.
Smith, on the other hand, has led teams at both the highest level and in the IPL (Rising Pune Supergiants and Rajasthan). Bought by Delhi for INR 2.2 crore in the auction held last month, Smith can be Iyer’s like-for-like replacement at No. 3. That being said, the Australian batsman will sure disturb their combination with respect to playing four overseas players.